Valerie Letourneau proved the oddsmakers wrong with an impressive decision win over previously-undefeated Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night in her home of Canada on Sunday night. The two strawweight contenders went to war on the feet and on the ground for three straight rounds in Saskatoon, but ultimately Letourneau used a well-rounded counter attack to earn a unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-28 (twice), and 30-27 for the 32-year-old fighter. Moroz suffered the first defeat of her young career but put up a great fight in the process.
In the first round, the Canadian scored a knockdown with a counter right punch to the head after an intense back-and-forth standing striking exchange. Moroz held a clear speed advantage with her hands and her feet, but Letourneau used excellent head movement and defense to get the better of that exchange and most, throughout the bout.
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After knocking Moroz down, Letourneau landed in and stayed in side mount for the rest of the period.
In the second round, Moroz came out just as aggressive as she had in the first, and stunned Letourneau with her own punch. The American Top Team member recovered and came back just as strong, and most of the rest of the round was spent with the two women trading nasty strikes on the feet.
Heading into the third and final round, both warriors had welts on their faces and must have been exhausted. Still, neither slowed their work rate.
Letourneau continued to land excellent counter right punches and big body kicks as she had been in the two previous rounds, before ending up on top, once more. Moroz hung tough but couldn't get Letourneau off of her until just a minute remained in the fight.
From there, the pair once again engaged in a fire-fight on the feet. Moroz threw and landed her share, but Letourneau's accuracy and damage inflicted won her the day.
The win is Letourneau's fourth straight, and should place her solidly in the division's top 10, where she already deserved to be ranked. "I feel awesome," she said, post-fight.
"I just want to move forward."